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-   -   Advice on tow vehicle for Excel 36' (http://www.irv2.com/forums/f116/advice-on-tow-vehicle-for-excel-36-a-217698.html)

gschooley 08-30-2014 03:22 PM

Advice on tow vehicle for Excel 36'
 
Hello Excel owners! I am new to this forum, and to forums period. I just posted my first thread on ‘Trailer towing and tow Vehicle Discussions’ and titled it ‘Confused about 5th wheel pulling requirements’. I received some good feedback. But, now I am aware there is a community of Excel owners on this forum, great. So, I hope you experienced Excel owners can give me some advice and share your experiences. I am an experienced Airstreamer person but 5th wheels are not my forte’. But, it needs to be, and pretty quick.

My goal is by next Spring early Summer, Michigan Spring, to be full timing it for the next 5-10 years. I hope I make 10yrs :-). Currently at the top of my list of 5th wheel is an Excel Limited 36GKE. It will be fully loaded and that would include washer/dryer. So MAX GVWR 18,750# could be a reality. So, it’s possible my hitch weight could be close to the max also, 3,750#.

I have a 2011 Ford F-250 with a standard bed and with a 6.7 liter diesel. Sales guys say not a problem, the forum members say NO WAY. And I believe the forum members so there is no more questions in my mind I have to scale down my 5th wheel aspirations or get a new truck. I am not going to compromise in what might be my home for the next 10 years, so I am now investigating what I should consider as a new tow vehicle.

That brings me to my question. Dear Excel owners, would you please share with me your experience and advice in truck specifications that work for in this class of 5th wheel and any advice in what NOT to do?

Thanks everyone!

iawoody2 08-30-2014 03:39 PM

The Texas weight police should show up soon.

drfife 08-30-2014 04:27 PM

An Excel 36GKE will require a dual rear wheel drive truck. I tow a 34IKE with a 3500HD single rear wheel drive. I am within specs loaded for travel. I do not have a washer/dryer or generator. Either would cause the pin weight greater than the rear tire weight rating.

Get a dually if you want the 36GKE.

HighwayRanger 08-30-2014 07:51 PM

Dually, 1-ton, diesel, late model, 4.10 gear ratio, from any of the three brands.

Roy

gschooley 08-30-2014 08:00 PM

I am really getting the BIG picture here...going to have to sell my beloved F-250 and upgrade to a real truck :-)

Riverc 08-30-2014 08:42 PM

You will need a DRW for a trailer that heavy.I would look at 450 or better a 550 Classy Chasis trucks in Indiana is a place to take a look at.

Rob17 08-30-2014 09:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by gschooley (Post 2206053)
Currently at the top of my list of 5th wheel is an Excel Limited 36GKE.

Definitely a dually, you'll be much happier.

Rob

JDT 08-30-2014 10:45 PM

Your 3/4 ton would be way overmatched with a 36 foot Limited. You will need a one ton dually at least. Your salesman is not well informed (I'm being kind) to say that your truck will work with that heavy a fifth wheel.

TexasTwoStep 08-31-2014 07:36 AM

A dually would match up well with the Excel. In some states that dually might raise your gvwr to the point that you will need a non-commercial class A drivers license.

dw8ite 08-31-2014 09:02 AM

Below is a link to a posting that was recently posted on this forum. The gentleman has a 36GKE and Volvo TV for sale. You might gain something from reading his ad or even talking to him. His 5th is very loaded like yours. Hope this helps.

http://www.irv2.com/forums/f116/we-a...ig-217231.html

Don

Barncats 08-31-2014 10:40 AM

Our 36CFE Limited loaded up has a pin weight of 4950 lbs. That is with a washer and dryer installed.
When it comes to tow vehicles, bigger is better IMHO

Mike

poppopc 08-31-2014 11:29 AM

One ton Dooley would be my choice. Had a 38' HH. CE.
it needed the Dooley +++!

RickS 08-31-2014 01:03 PM

You will need at least a 1 ton DRW truck. I would also look at a Trailer Saver Air hitch for the truck. Even a 1 ton DRW will chuck a lot without an air hitch. I do tow my WC to and from my storage yard with my 2015 GMC DRW (Daily driver).....but couldn't even imagine doing a 14,000 km trip with the 1 ton DRW like I just finished with the Volvo. :)

Endeavor2BnC 08-31-2014 02:19 PM

We used to have a Chevrolet Silverado 3500 pulling our 35 ft TKE. We changed to the Volvo & Smart car setup to give us better stopping capabilities and allow us to carry the Smart car. The end result was a savings of about $150/more on our fuel expenses. All in all, for us, it was a good decision.

techferret 08-31-2014 08:21 PM

37FLE w/ W/D + 3500 HD Diesel Dually + 20k Curt hitch == Almost effortless. This is my first time towing. Anything. Ever.

Get the truck as soon as posible so you become comfortable driving it before you hang your investment off the back. I managed about a month and was very glad to have taken the time.

kjb999 08-31-2014 10:32 PM

Excel 36 ft or greater
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Riverc (Post 2206471)
You will need a DRW for a trailer that heavy.I would look at 450 or better a 550 Classy Chasis trucks in Indiana is a place to take a look at.

I second this reply, you'll need a DRW , suggest you check out Classy Chassis in Valparaiso Indiana. They are the best at heavy pick-up conversions. I have a 36BDE and a Classy Chassis F550 crew cab DRW with air ride suspension and 488 rear end. Never a problem towing.

gschooley 09-01-2014 08:15 AM

I want to thank everyone for their input to my thread. It has been very enlightening, all in a good way! Please keep the experiences coming on things I should consider.

I am now leaning toward a Dodge 3500 with a 3.73 diff., DRW, 4WD, Crew Cab, 8 foot box. My second choice will be Ford F-350, same configuration. Being a 3 time Ford diesel owner, current one 2011 F-250 I have been burned, or very unlucky, owner. I baby them but for some reason they hate me. Even if the Dodge had the same problems I would be better off since you don't have to take the front of the truck apart to fix something simple or big.

I always try to overkill with my tow vehicles, I like safety! I am envious of the Excel owners pulling with the 450-550 and Volvos. The 450 would work for me but the others are far to out of reach and the 450 too costly. More importantly my current plans, full timing, is not to move every week or so, I've done that over the years with my Airstream. i am planning on a destination and stay for a month+ then move on (Spring-Fall). In winter I will probably go South and sit the snow/cold out.

Another reason for the one ton dually is flexibility. I know its some what a compromise, if I am wrong please speak up, but at my destinations I need a truck that I can go down unimproved roads for trekking and fly fishing. This is what I will do ALOT! To go bigger than a one ton dually, my priority of being in the back country would be very limited and that's not negotiable.

Again, everyone, you have no idea how much I appreciate everyones help, input and encouragement.

rockintom 09-01-2014 10:03 AM

gschooley,

Sounds like you doing the right thing as a minimum for a TV. In reviewing the posts here, I didn't notice if you were thinking of purchasing a new truck or not. Please remember that the newer models have higher towing capacity. If you go back just a few short years, the towing capacity on a 1 ton dually would be inadequate for your application. Just sayin'....rockin

cwo4mstumpf 09-01-2014 10:11 AM

You will be very well served by a stout DWR, brand is of your choice, or HDT. All trucks can tow but you need the stopping power and cooling of the heaver duty truck. Good luck and safe travels.

gschooley 09-01-2014 01:14 PM

I will be buying a new truck. And yes to your point I was amazed how much they have improved in payload and towing, especially the new Dodge 3500 DRW. It's probably the tops on my list.

cwo4mstumpf 09-02-2014 12:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by gschooley (Post 2208955)
I will be buying a new truck. And yes to your point I was amazed how much they have improved in payload and towing, especially the new Dodge 3500 DRW. It's probably the tops on my list.

GS
Excellent choice. All use urea now to reduce emissions so the one with the proven engine and transmission is the dodge with the chevy a close second. I have a 2007.5 dodge with the 6.7 and 68rfe transmission, my engine had the DPF which I removed at 38k when the head gasket went, dealer replaced under warranty even though the engine had been modified (DPF removed and Smarty tuner added). With the new trucks the emissions system is better even though you have to add urea every so often, over 350 hp and 800 ft pounds of torque you will have plenty of power and with the disc brakes on the 5th wheel you should have no problems. My rig totals over 24.5k and doesn't have the disc breaks on my 2007 35flr and I have had no problems but I do have to be careful and leave plenty of stopping distance. good luck and safe travels.

Endeavor2BnC 09-02-2014 08:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by gschooley (Post 2208387)
I want to thank everyone for their input to my thread. It has been very enlightening, all in a good way! Please keep the experiences coming on things I should consider.

I am now leaning toward a Dodge 3500 with a 3.73 diff., DRW, 4WD, Crew Cab, 8 foot box. My second choice will be Ford F-350, same configuration. Being a 3 time Ford diesel owner, current one 2011 F-250 I have been burned, or very unlucky, owner. I baby them but for some reason they hate me. Even if the Dodge had the same problems I would be better off since you don't have to take the front of the truck apart to fix something simple or big.

I always try to overkill with my tow vehicles, I like safety! I am envious of the Excel owners pulling with the 450-550 and Volvos. The 450 would work for me but the others are far to out of reach and the 450 too costly. More importantly my current plans, full timing, is not to move every week or so, I've done that over the years with my Airstream. i am planning on a destination and stay for a month+ then move on (Spring-Fall). In winter I will probably go South and sit the snow/cold out.

Another reason for the one ton dually is flexibility. I know its some what a compromise, if I am wrong please speak up, but at my destinations I need a truck that I can go down unimproved roads for trekking and fly fishing. This is what I will do ALOT! To go bigger than a one ton dually, my priority of being in the back country would be very limited and that's not negotiable.

Again, everyone, you have no idea how much I appreciate everyones help, input and encouragement.


Don't be envious of those of us who have Volvo's & a Smart car. To have the safety & versatility that you want, my Volvo, with the custom bed, and the Smart car was less than the new Dodge dually that you are currently looking at. It is definitely less than the 450 / 550 or M2. I love the 40+ mpg with the Smart and the stopping power of the Volvo. Then again, I'm prejudiced.
Tim

RickS 09-02-2014 09:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cwo4mstumpf (Post 2210585)
GS
Excellent choice. All use urea now to reduce emissions so the one with the proven engine and transmission is the dodge with the chevy a close second.

Well, that's an interesting comment.....and let's just say we can agree to disagree. My business sell's replacement transmissions from ATS Diesel in CO. The sales of Dodge transmissions out numbers GM and Ford 10 to 1. I love Dodge trucks since they keep my business rolling right along. :)

happy tails 09-03-2014 05:00 AM

Which Dodge Transmissions are you talking about?

gschooley 09-03-2014 08:09 AM

I will choose the AISIN transmission option.

TexasTwoStep 09-03-2014 08:17 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by RickS (Post 2211345)
Well, that's an interesting comment.....and let's just say we can agree to disagree. My business sell's replacement transmissions from ATS Diesel in CO. The sales of Dodge transmissions out numbers GM and Ford 10 to 1. I love Dodge trucks since they keep my business rolling right along. :)

And your comment is interesting and enlightening. I don't and wouldn't have one.

cwo4mstumpf 09-03-2014 05:03 PM

Great choice, that transmission wasn't avail 2007.5 for the PU only in the CC or I would have elected the Aisin transmission.. So far the 68 rfe has been a good transmission for me with 82k miles on it. I do a transmission fluid change every 30k vs 60k as I tow a lot and its cheap insurance. BTW didn't know there was such a tremendous amount of trouble with the 68rfe transmissions. What is the top problem, torque converter?????

tech tulsa 09-04-2014 09:59 PM

I just bought an 2015 F-350 DRW longbed. I pull my '34 Fleetwood that weighs about 15,000 but it's rated to pull a 23,500 lb. 5'er legally. I can barely tell my RV is behind it. I suggest driving the Ford before buying the Dodge. Good luck!!

gschooley 09-05-2014 08:17 AM

I went to the dealer yesterday that I have bought my last three diesel pickups over the last 10 years. They sell both RAM and Ford, very convenient for me. I was able to both take on a long test drive with equivalent configured F-350 and RAM 3500 (4wd, DRW, 8' bed etc.). I fully understand not having 19,000 lbs behind them its not much of a test but we all know both rigs can handle them. I was really interested in how they would compare in riding with out any weight (since I will be using this truck for off road and unimproved road excursions for fly fishing, hunting etc.. a lot on my full time adventures. Also, I am a Ford biggot but someone who has been bitten hard by Ford with the last three diesels and including my current 2011 F-250. I know this will probably spark some emotional responses but driving the Ram 3500/F-350 on some of the worse highways in the US (Michigan) and taking down wash boarded and pot holed dirt roads...there was no comparison. I can't believe I am saying this but after owing six brand new Ford trucks in my life I am jumping ship. The 2014-2015 Ram 3500 is what I am settling on, with the Aisin tranny.

drfife 09-05-2014 10:32 AM

gschooley, did you test drive a GM 3500HD? The ride is great.

JDT 09-05-2014 11:25 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by drfife (Post 2215208)
gschooley, did you test drive a GM 3500HD? The ride is great.

I am not one of those who say buy what I buy but for a good comparison I agree with Russell. The quietness and fit and finish of my truck is excellent. The power is all I need and very smooth. The ride is really decent empty. The Duramax and Allison are a good combination. I didn't think I would like it but the lane drift warning system is a must have in my books. It will buzz whatever side of your seat your drift is headed, or you can set it for an audible warning. I had no idea I ever strayed from my lane but the wife did. I makes me pay closer attention. I also have the forward collision alert but have not set it off and hope I never do.

gschooley 09-07-2014 04:26 PM

Okay, everyone's contributions has really paid off. Thank you. Now to the NEXT PROBLEM and/or concern of mine I need some direction or advice, please. To remind everyone; I will be ordering a 2015 Excel 36GKE Limited. Currently, I am strongly leaning towards a 2015 RAM 3500, DRW, 4WD, 8' bed, Crew Cab. The 4WD is a must, no mater it Ford/Chev!!!

My concern now is the 5th wheel clearance between the truck bed rail to the bottom of forward cab of 5th wheel. What I can ascertain a minimum of 6" but preferred 8" for extra measure. I am reading horror stories out there with the newer trucks, over the last couple of years, being too high for proper truck to 5th wheel rail clearances. I have read many of the forums, including iRV2, and I just can't seem to figure it all out, and my dealer is new to Excel and 5th wheels in general.

Any experience, issues or advice with a 36' Excels and proper rail clearance with a 2014-2015 RAM 3500, DRW, 4WD, 8' bed, crew cab?

excel2014 09-07-2014 05:25 PM

You can adjust the height of the fifth wheel hitch on the trailer by 3-6" at least. I did that adjustment to get fairly level and for proper clearance

gschooley 09-07-2014 05:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by excel2014 (Post 2218636)
You can adjust the height of the fifth wheel hitch on the trailer by 3-6" at least. I did that adjustment to get fairly level and for proper clearance

What truck are you using?

excel2014 09-07-2014 06:09 PM

The difference between the bottom of my 37ike and the bottom of the king pin plate is about 14 inches. I had to raise my king pin plate one notch to get my trailer and truck near level. Right now on asphalt the bottom of the trailer is about 62 inches but the trailer was raised 1-2 inches when i pulled the truck out.

JDT 09-07-2014 08:41 PM

I have about 6" clearance between the top rails of the truck bed and the bottom of the Winslow and it is very close to level. It might sit a little nose high but really looks level. I have my Trailer Saver hitch sat at its lowest level. I think my king pin plate is in the middle holes. I think you will be fine but may have to make some adjustments.

gschooley 09-08-2014 05:59 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JDT (Post 2218958)
I have about 6" clearance between the top rails of the truck bed and the bottom of the Winslow and it is very close to level. It might sit a little nose high but really looks level. I have my Trailer Saver hitch sat at its lowest level. I think my king pin plate is in the middle holes. I think you will be fine but may have to make some adjustments.

Comforting to hear but I am still worried about it. I going out to measure the Ram 3500 vs. the F-350 4wd today. If I remember looking at them, side by side from the rear, the Ram looked higher in the back. I don't have access to a Chevy like yours for comparison. If you get a chance and can measure from the ground to top of bed, at rear of truck I would greatly appreciate it. I am assuming all the Excels have the same cab height, when level, to the ground?

happy tails 09-08-2014 07:13 AM

We are towing our 2014 36 GKE Limited Co storied with our 2013 Dodge Longhorn Laramie and we have no problems with clearance we are a little high in nose when pulling but not that bad.

happy tails 09-08-2014 07:14 AM

2014 36 GKE Limited Customized

JDT 09-08-2014 07:23 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by gschooley (Post 2219257)
Comforting to hear but I am still worried about it. I going out to measure the Ram 3500 vs. the F-350 4wd today. If I remember looking at them, side by side from the rear, the Ram looked higher in the back. I don't have access to a Chevy like yours for comparison. If you get a chance and can measure from the ground to top of bed, at rear of truck I would greatly appreciate it. I am assuming all the Excels have the same cab height, when level, to the ground?

I put a level on top of the tailgate and measured from the floor to the bottom of the level. It is right at 57 3/4 inches. If that is not what you wanted let me know. My assumption is the Excel heights are all the same but you may have to ask PI about that one.

gschooley 09-08-2014 12:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JDT (Post 2219328)
I put a level on top of the tailgate and measured from the floor to the bottom of the level. It is right at 57 3/4 inches. If that is not what you wanted let me know. My assumption is the Excel heights are all the same but you may have to ask PI about that one.

That helps a lot, thank you. I got my measurement with a level too. Just got back from Ford-Dodge dealer. Both trucks 8' bed, 4wd, dually, crew cabs (F-350 & 3500). Ouch on the Dodge!!! Both have same 17" rims, too.

F-350 is: 55.5"
3500 is: 59"

That is not a typo and all measurements double checked...you don't have to measure to see the big difference, both trucks were side by side. My F-250 crew cab with 20" wheels is also 59", ridiculous.

There lies my problem. I've got to find someone out there with a 2013-2015 3500 with this 4wd same configuration to talk too. I have seen on some forums where people have done crazy suspension things to get bed rail down but this is something I am not willing/hoping to do. Hopefully, there is a reasonable solution??? Why do the manufactures do these things, obviously they don't talk to their real customer base.

rockintom 09-08-2014 12:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by gschooley (Post 2219797)
That helps a lot, thank you. I got my measurement with a level too. Just got back from Ford-Dodge dealer. Both trucks 8' bed, 4wd, dually, crew cabs (F-350 & 3500). Ouch on the Dodge!!! Both have same 17" rims, too.

F-350 is: 55.5"
3500 is: 59"

That is not a typo and all measurements double checked...you don't have to measure to see the big difference, both trucks were side by side. My F-250 crew cab with 20" wheels is also 59", ridiculous.

There lies my problem. I've got to find someone out there with a 2013-2015 3500 with this 4wd same configuration to talk too. I have seen on some forums where people have done crazy suspension things to get bed rail down but this is something I am not willing/hoping to do. Hopefully, there is a reasonable solution??? Why do the manufactures do these things, obviously they don't talk to their real customer base.

Just for grins, I went out and measured my 14 Chev CC 4WD CC LB with a Fold-A-Cover bedcover. Just a smiggin' under 58" I have a tight 6" of bedrail to coach clearance and the rig is just slightly high in the front.
I have to be careful when entering and exiting with a sharp turn, but not something I can't live with. Coach suspension is set on the lowest hole (coach as high as possible). I'd like better numbers but did the best set up I could without spending a bunch of $ to make it better. Just FYI. I have noticed a friend that his 2012 Ford 350 (all the same stuff as mine)is about an couple of inches lower than mine when they sit side by side. rockin'

gschooley 09-08-2014 02:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by rockintom (Post 2219863)
Just for grins, I went out and measured my 14 Chev CC 4WD CC LB with a Fold-A-Cover bedcover. Just a smiggin' under 58" I have a tight 6" of bedrail to coach clearance and the rig is just slightly high in the front.
I have to be careful when entering and exiting with a sharp turn, but not something I can't live with. Coach suspension is set on the lowest hole (coach as high as possible). I'd like better numbers but did the best set up I could without spending a bunch of $ to make it better. Just FYI. I have noticed a friend that his 2012 Ford 350 (all the same stuff as mine)is about an couple of inches lower than mine when they sit side by side. rockin'

So, add a 1.25" to your hard to live with-but sort of works-but have to be too careful and a sort of problem...becomes a much bigger problem!

There must be some half way reasonable solution out there. How can Dodge make a main stream 5th wheel hauling machine that is out of spec to the real world pullers and needs and 5th wheel manufactures? If it keeps going this way we are going to be able to walk under the belly of a 5th wheel :-(

excel2014 09-08-2014 04:23 PM

I think that dodge and GM use progressive springs which is why the trucks look like they are running downhill. This gives them a softer ride initially but the more weight that is added to the box, the more they sit down. this helps with the increased capacity they are all claiming. not to long ago, same trucks were at 22-24k ratings. now your at close to 30k. same frame,tranny, rear end....Go figure

rockintom 09-08-2014 05:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by excel2014 (Post 2220128)
I think that dodge and GM use progressive springs which is why the trucks look like they are running downhill. This gives them a softer ride initially but the more weight that is added to the box, the more they sit down. this helps with the increased capacity they are all claiming. not to long ago, same trucks were at 22-24k ratings. now your at close to 30k. same frame,tranny, rear end....Go figure

2014,

Increase of capacity have been enhanced in many areas from just a few short years ago, cooling systems, frames, suspension, brakes, torque and HP. I could on. rockin'

gschooley 09-08-2014 05:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by excel2014 (Post 2220128)
I think that dodge and GM use progressive springs which is why the trucks look like they are running downhill. This gives them a softer ride initially but the more weight that is added to the box, the more they sit down. this helps with the increased capacity they are all claiming. not to long ago, same trucks were at 22-24k ratings. now your at close to 30k. same frame,tranny, rear end....Go figure

So, a possible hypothesis is when you put the weight on the hitch it might settle more than a Ford, thus giving you some possible and workable rail clearance. That would be nice to know but I'm not spending that kind of cash on my guess :-) At least not till I find someone who has worked through this with a solution.

You are correct, in my mind, about the progression on the springs, on the 3500. The ride, unloaded on rough roads, the RAM hands down road much smoother than the F-350.

JDT 09-08-2014 07:18 PM

You have never said whether or not you are considering a new or used Excel. If new, I think you will find PI has done a pretty good job matching the height of their fifth wheels to the newer trucks. It may take a little adjusting of the king pin and hitch but I just can't see where there would be a problem.

Probably said this before but I have a set of Air Lift 5k bags on my rear axle. I had them on my 2012 and took them off before I sold it. Since I had nothing else to do with them I put them on my new truck. When they are set at the lowest setting of 5 psi the trailer and truck are about as level as can be. When I set them at 25 psi, which seems to be the best setting, it brings it up just slightly but not enough to be an issue.

PJL 09-08-2014 08:44 PM

I tow a 2014 Excel 37SDF with a 2014 Ram 3500 crew cab dually. I have over 6" clearance and the trailer tows level. I do not have Ram's factory air bags, as they were unavailable when my 2014 was ordered so I do have a very slight sag when my trailer is connected (pin weight of ~3700 lbs). My hitch is a Hensley TrailerSaver, which comes with different spacer heights (which can increase or decrease the hitch height when mounted in the truck bed). If I recall, I have 2" spacers. Excel mounts their axles/suspension in one of 3 positions on the frame (top, middle or bottom hole on the frame) which can adjust the trailer height. Standard position is the middle hole. It is apparently pretty easy for the dealer to change the position to the bottom hole if your trailer needs to be raised a little. My Demco Glide Ride pin height can also be easily adjusted to get the trailer level and provide necessary bed rail clearance. If I had to do it over again, I would probably order the Excel with the suspension mounted on the bottom hole ( highest height) and have used a 3" spacer on my hitch instead of a 2" spacer. Only downside to that configuration would be that a 3" spacer would lift the top of the hitch just a tad above the bed rails preventing me from later adding a retractable bed cover, such as Retrax (which I decided not to do, but you may want to).

BTW, if you order a Ram 3500, I would definitely investigate the factory air bags. My understanding is that this will significantly improve your ride when you disconnect the Excel. My 3500 is a fairly rough ride without the pin weight on the rear.

gschooley 09-09-2014 06:38 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by PJL (Post 2220519)
I tow a 2014 Excel 37SDF with a 2014 Ram 3500 crew cab dually. I have over 6" clearance and the trailer tows level. I do not have Ram's factory air bags, as they were unavailable when my 2014 was ordered so I do have a very slight sag when my trailer is connected (pin weight of ~3700 lbs). My hitch is a Hensley TrailerSaver, which comes with different spacer heights (which can increase or decrease the hitch height when mounted in the truck bed). If I recall, I have 2" spacers. Excel mounts their axles/suspension in one of 3 positions on the frame (top, middle or bottom hole on the frame) which can adjust the trailer height. Standard position is the middle hole. It is apparently pretty easy for the dealer to change the position to the bottom hole if your trailer needs to be raised a little. My Demco Glide Ride pin height can also be easily adjusted to get the trailer level and provide necessary bed rail clearance. If I had to do it over again, I would probably order the Excel with the suspension mounted on the bottom hole ( highest height) and have used a 3" spacer on my hitch instead of a 2" spacer. Only downside to that configuration would be that a 3" spacer would lift the top of the hitch just a tad above the bed rails preventing me from later adding a retractable bed cover, such as Retrax (which I decided not to do, but you may want to).

BTW, if you order a Ram 3500, I would definitely investigate the factory air bags. My understanding is that this will significantly improve your ride when you disconnect the Excel. My 3500 is a fairly rough ride without the pin weight on the rear.

Great feedback, thank you! QUESTION: is your 3500 a 4WD? 4WD will be my configuration and probably sits a little higher.

I agree on the factory airbag option (first available in 2014) but Dodge recalled the first few that were released and still have a hold on them in the current 2104 lineup. I just specced out the 2015 with my dealer last week and there still is a hold on them. He checked into it and said Dodge is doing a complete redesign of their airbag system. Must have been a serious issue. But their concept of how it became an integral part of the suspension, not just an aftermarket added to stocks springs, to your point, should make the unloaded ride relatively a good ride. I am not ordering the truck till early March, it is never going to see a spec of Michigan road salt :-) , and hopefully they will have the option available, again.

Maybe during the air bag design they will lower their 4WD truck 1.5", that would be nice.:)

gschooley 09-09-2014 06:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JDT (Post 2220362)
You have never said whether or not you are considering a new or used Excel.

New 36GKE Limited.

drfife 09-09-2014 09:46 AM

The unloaded height is not important. The loaded height is what you need to consider.

gyropilot 09-09-2014 09:47 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by gschooley (Post 2220925)
4WD will be my configuration and probably sits a little higher.

Per the Ram Body Builder website, there's roughly a 1.5" difference in unloaded ride height between the 4x2 (lower) and the 4x4 (higher).

Best regards,

John L.

kjb999 09-09-2014 11:49 AM

Pick-up bed clearance
 
You should check out the Classy Chassis web site and their Hauler Bed option for all Ford/Chevy/Dodge 1 ton and up conversions. This will solve your clearance problems.

gschooley 09-09-2014 04:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kjb999 (Post 2221309)
You should check out the Classy Chassis web site and their Hauler Bed option for all Ford/Chevy/Dodge 1 ton and up conversions. This will solve your clearance problems.

They build a great product and they are about 35 minutes from my house, too.

PJL 09-09-2014 06:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by gschooley (Post 2220925)
QUESTION: is your 3500 a 4WD? 4WD will be my configuration and probably sits a little higher.


Sorry, should have said mine is also 4WD

dw8ite 09-10-2014 10:23 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Quote:

Originally Posted by PJL (Post 2220519)
I would probably order the Excel with the suspension mounted on the bottom hole ( highest height)

I had heard that Excel had improved their spring brackets starting with 2012 models, making them from heavier material and added reinforcement. I took a photo the other day (see below). The reason I mention this is that on mine you will notice that there is only one hole (no adjustment). I assume they are all made this way now. This might be important if you are counting on making a height adjustment on a new Excel.

Hope this is helpful.
Don

rockintom 09-10-2014 10:53 PM

Thanks Don,

Mine is a 2012 and not like yours. It has the 3 holes like we've seen for years. However, mine is very early #3 off the line. I suspect that the need for the other 2 holes is unnecessary now-a-day, with all the higher trucks. I do believe mine are 3/16" thick though. rockin'

drfife 09-10-2014 11:13 PM

I have a 2013 with 3 hole spring hangers. Is the picture above a 2014 or 2015?

dw8ite 09-11-2014 08:49 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by drfife (Post 2223799)
I have a 2013 with 3 hole spring hangers. Is the picture above a 2014 or 2015?

The photo is of my 2011 Excel Winslow fabricated December 2011. I don't know why it's different.

Don

rockintom 09-11-2014 09:00 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dw8ite (Post 2224085)
The photo is of my 2011 Excel Winslow fabricated December 2011. I don't know why it's different.

Don

Knowing what little we know now.......sounds like this may have been a "test running production change" that may have not lasted long. Hmmm.

It amazing to me of how looking at two rigs rig with the same floorplan only a couple of VINs different from each other (built very near the same time frame) can have so many differences. For example, met a guy with a '05 FLR once with similar VINs as ours and his stove/oven was located in a different area in the rear kitchen. Also his roof antenna was mounted near the front of the rig and mine in the rear. Changes happening all the time, trying to make us a better rig. rockin'

dw8ite 09-11-2014 09:52 AM

Custom orders may also account for some of these anomalies.

Don

rockintom 09-11-2014 10:07 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dw8ite (Post 2224171)
Custom orders may also account for some of these anomalies.

Don

True, but on my old 05 FLR I was describing above, I know that the other rig was not special ordered. And to top it off, the floorplan spec sheet (paper and website) shows the stove being located in the position that my friends FLR model. His was built after mine. Just sayin'

pcr1218 09-11-2014 09:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dw8ite (Post 2224085)
The photo is of my 2011 Excel Winslow fabricated December 2011. I don't know why it's different.

Don

Don, I have a 2011 31RLE. My serial number is 11014. It is number 14 for the 2011 year. The date on the build sheet when it was ordered is 03/15/2010. It was probably built early to mid 2010 and has the same shackles as yours.

I have a Hydralift on the back that carries a 900 lb. Harley. When loaded the rear of the coach drops very little from an unloaded height. The front is a little nose high which causes the rear to be somewhat low. I often wondered why I didn't have adjustment holes on the shackles like others have here but now seeing your pictures, yours are built just like mine and I wonder if this is something that is just on the model 31's. I wish the shackles had the extra holes to drop the springs for a little more rear clearance and to level the coach better. I have the pin box/hitch set for about 5" of clearance over the top of the rails so I can't go any lower in the front.....Pat

dw8ite 09-12-2014 08:30 AM

Pat - If you really wanted to you could probably purchase new shackle brackets (with 3 holes) and have your existing ones replaced. Sounds difficult, but to someone who welds it would be easy.

Don

Big B 11-25-2014 09:01 AM

I just bought a 15 F350 DRW 4x4, 3:73 gears, put a Reese Elite 26.5K hitch in the factory bed setup and am towing my 06 Excel 30 RSO L with a Goldwing on a Swivelwheel DW58.

I set up my hitch on lowest setting and changed pins to lowest setting on shackles. I have over 10" clearance at bed rails with the coach being a tad nose high.

One thing not mentioned here, dealers commonly set tire pressures low, especially on heavier trucks to make it "Seem" like its a smooth ride. Just sayin. I haven't been down any washboard roads yet but I'm very pleased with my ride quality loaded and unloaded. More importantly, towing is much easier and actually fun with a dually. You should know I am biased to Ford as I get family plan pricing, although I did consider Dodge this time.

After 3 months with new F350 I'm quite pleased with it.

Chuck Perry 01-01-2015 11:50 AM

2008 Excel 33RSE /2010 Chevy 3500 dually 4X4
 
33 Excel RSE on the road at 16K. I had the factory raise the coach 4" to mate with my 2006 2500 Chevy Silverado 4X4. I was over the recommended GCVW for the truck. I replaced the '06 with a 2009 3500 Silverado, Duramax, Allison tranny, 4X4. I have replaced all 4 disk rotors with drilled and grooved rotors. I'm not sure it was necessary and probably would not do it again. I've towed various fifth wheels since 1990. This is probably the best all around combination I have come up with. I looked at Chevy's Kodiak and decided it was much more truck than I needed. It also would not fit in my garage.

My 2008 33RSE and the Silverado sit level when hooked up and the coach has nearly 6" clearance between the box and fiver over hang. The hitch is a B&W with the in box adapter for a standard fifth wheel pin box.

Don't know if this info helps in your decision but the combo works for me. By the way driving a dually by itself takes some getting used to if you have only driven single rear wheel units.


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